About Me

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Sonoma County, CA, United States
A food and restaurant review through the eyes of a 13 year old and his family.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

My "Foody" Adventures in Hawaii! - The Island of Hawaii Kona Coast

On my family vacation to Kona, I tried a bunch of different Hawaiian food. Hawaiian food is kind of a cross between American and Japanese food. It's really fresh and good. The first thing I tried was Musubi. Musubi is like a big ol' sushi roll except everything is cooked. I had a combination of Masubi from the L&L Hawaiian Barbecue. The L&L Hawaiian Barbecue is a local Hawaiian take-out place. I had a Portugee sausage roll, a SPAM roll and a teriyaki chicken roll. They were awesome! I also tried an ahi-ahi Musubi roll which was fried tuna. My favorite Musubi roll is the SPAM one.

Other things I tried were Malasadas from Tex Drive-In in Waimea. A malasada is a Portugee doughnut. It's basically a giant doughnut hole that you can fill with cream, guava, cherry, pretty much any type of berry jelly and then it's rolled in sugar. At Tex Drive-In you can watch them making the fresh malasadas while you wait and they are fresh and hot out of the grease! I had a guava filled malasada, an unfilled malasada and a cherry malasada. I liked them all....although the cherry one was a little bit sour. My sister loved malasadas even though she said, "I don't want to try malasadas Logan." She tried it and loved them. On the way back down the Kona Coast we stopped at the Waimea Farmer's Market. This market had a lot of delicious looking food and island products which included lychee nuts and Parker Ranch beef. We bought a bag of fresh lychee nuts and some local beef jerky from a vendor. I tried teriyaki pork from a vendor named Aunty Kanai who made her own teriyaki marinade/sauce. We bought a jar and took it back with us. We made our own teriyaki chicken with it. It was awesome.

We went to a delicious hole-in-the-wall sushi place in downtown Kaialua-Kona called Hayashi's which means "create your own" roll. I ordered some take-out sushi which was teriyaki chicken, spicy tuna roll and a California roll. This was the BEST sushi I've ever had! It was so fresh, right out of the ocean and they just do it perfectly.

So, if you are ever visiting the Big Island, I highly recommend L&L Hawaiian Barbecue and Tex Drive-In AND for the sushi lover, Hayashi's. For the basic eater like my sister Rylee, I'd recommend Bubba Gump's! ALOHA

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Hopmonk Tavern

A few nights ago I went to the Hopmonk Tavern with my family to kick off Summer!

The Hopmonk Tavern is located in Sebastopol across from Frizelle Enos Feed Store in an old building that was part of the old train depot. The building still feels like a train depot but you can eat in it. There is an awesome beer garden outside and a building called the Abbey where they have beer dinners and live music. My great grandpa, Grandpa Ira Vail was a conductor on the electric car that went from Petaluma to Sebastopol. The building is really amazing because it has so much history. The owner of Hopmonk is Dean Biersch, formerly of Gordon-Biersch. We don't get to see him that often, but we know him, and he's a nice guy. My dad gave him some abalone awhile back. Dean LOVES abalone! Abalone isn't my favorite thing in the world.

We sat in a booth and ordered our drinks. My mom and dad ordered beers,(Hopmonk has LOTS of beers) my sister had cranberry juice and I had pineapple juice. Then we ordered our dinner. I had the Hopmonk Burger which is what I always order because IT'S THE BEST BURGER I've ever had! It's made with fresh ground lean beef, topped with tomato chutney, lemon aioli and crispy shallots and white cheddar cheese. I always get my Hopmonk Burger prepared medium rare. Mmmmmmmmm. My sister, the basic eater, ordered a kid size burger from the kids menu that came with fries. The kids menu has a lot of stuff like fish and chips, grilled cheese, macaroni and cheese and little hamburgers...mostly basic stuff. My dad ordered the grilled ham and cheese sandwich which he describes as one of the best things he has ever had at Hopmonk. He loves it mostly because of the parmesan cheese the put on the bread before they grill it. It's one of his favorites. My mom had a Summer berry salad. She has it all the time because she thinks it's "healthy".

The service was really good. The service was fast and the waitress was really nice. One of the people that has worked there for a long time named Kim talked with us for a while...she is really nice. She's in charge of group sales and special events.

The Hopmonk Tavern is kid friendly and has really great service. I highly recommend it especially the Hopmonk Burger.

My dad says Hopmonk is also VERY adult friendly. He and Mom have gone to a bunch of the "beer dinners" that the chef does. They do food pairings with different beers, from different brewerys. It's not a kid thing to do, but Mom and Dad say they've had some really amazing food and beer at these dinners. They love those dinners.

If you would like to see their website click here.

So this is how I rate it:

How it felt: ****
Service: *****
Food: *****
Price: $$

So if you are in Sebastopol..GO THERE!

Friday, June 11, 2010

BBQ Smokehouse and Catering-Sebastopol

I went to the BBQ Smokehouse in Sebastopol a week ago with my family. It was our first time there. This place is right next to the Sebastopol Cinemas.

When I walked in, I saw a self serve soda machine, old west style decorations, old fashioned red and white plaid tablecloths and picnic tables. I also saw some Gold medals, Silver medals and Bronze medals. That made me think that this place must be pretty good to get all those medals.

The way it works is that you walk to the counter to order, you get your soda cup, and then you go fill your soda cup up with soda, or water or lemonade if your dad says "no soda tonight".

I ordered Smoked Chicken Wings with a small side of cornbread and macaroni and cheese. I have to say that the macaroni and cheese was The Best. It was cheesier and more flavorful than that Kraft stuff that my sister Rylee eats. Blech!

The wings were a little chewy, but in flavor they had kind of a smokey flavor and I liked the flavor, but not the texture. The cornbread was the best cornbread I've ever had. My dad said it was the second best he'd ever had, after a place he found in Tennessee 10 years ago. He said that if the BBQ Smokehouse deep fried their cornbread, it would be his Number 1. My dad kind of fell in love with deep fried cornbread in Tennessee..it kind of made him a cornbread snob.

My dad had an order of Memphis Style BBQ pork ribs. He said they were the best ribs he's had in Sonoma County, and that says a lot. My dad LOVES ribs. He's been kind of depressed since Pack Jacks burned down a few years ago, but I think he's finally over it after he had these. They fell off the bone, had sweet smokey flavor, and didn't have a lot of sauce on them. You could add your choice of 3 sauces on the table to em, but in my opinion, my dad still makes the best ribs. My friend Calvin also loves ribs, but I'm not sure if he's tried this place yet. I will definitely recommend it to him.

My mom had the pulled pork sandwich with cole slaw, and she LOVED it. She definitely recommends it. I didn't get to try it, so I'll just have to take moms word for it.

My sister, Rylee, had the kids order of Mac and Cheese. Not Kraft Macaroni and Cheese, this was the homemade kind. She liked it! She also had some of my dad's ribs, which she loved.

For dessert we shared an order of Sweet Potato Pie and an order of Warm Brandied Bread Pudding. I liked the Bread Pudding the most. The Pudding was crunchy on the outside, and soft on the inside, just the way I like it. The Sweet Potato Pie was a lot like pumpkin pie but it was made with sweet potatoes. It was okay, just not my thing. I like cherry pie.

So my ratings are as follows:

Service-Medium Speed. The servers were nice and friendly.
Cleanliness-3 out 5 stars. It's an outside place, so kind of like a picnic.

Overall, I give this place 4.5 stars! That's pretty good for a BBQ Place!!

If you want to see their website, click here.

Thanks for looking at my restaurant reviews. Stay tuned here for more and different reviews!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

La Gare Restaurant

I'd like to share my review of La Gare Restaurant. La Gare is a French Swiss family owned restaurant in Railroad Square in Santa Rosa. I've eaten at La Gare (4) times with my family. The latest was in March of this year, 2010. This was the second time I've eaten escargot.

When I walked into the restaurant I noticed a yodeler's horn and different Swiss art. The person that greeted us was Jackie, one of the owners. Jackie took us to our table and told us about the specials. One of the specials was halibut baked in a white wine and butter sauce Mmmmmmmmmm. I had my eye on that. We started with appetizers. We ordered escargot. Oh my gosh...I love escargot! At first, I didn't want to try it. But on my third time to La Gare, my dad convinced me so I tried it and I loved it! With your meal you get a house made salad of butter lettuce and vegetables with La Gare's famous homemade dressing. You also get soup with your meal. The soup was cream of asparagus soup. Both the salad and the soup were delicious. I had the special, halibut. I loved the butter and white wine sauce. I savored it for a while and if you are a fish lover, I highly recommend it. It also came with mashed potatoes and carrots.

For the basic eater (like my sister), the Chef, Roger, will make whatever you want. He made my sister butter noodles and carrots. She ate every last bite! The Chef will also make macaroni, pretty much any pasta, pretty much anything the "basic eater" might want. For dessert I had a cherries jubilee which is cherries sauted in a liquor and reduced to a syrup. They make this at your table. The waiter lights it on fire and then he puts vanilla ice cream in a glass and puts the flaming cherries over the top. Don't worry, the cherries are not on fire once they hit the ice cream.

The service is really good because they get it to you quickly, but if you want to take your time, they'll let you take your time. Once, I got to go into the kitchen and meet the Chef/owner, Roger. It's a very nice kitchen. I got to hang out for a little while and watch while they prepared dinners. Jackie and her brother Roger love to come by and talk with us.

If you want to go to their website, click here.

So I rate La Gare Restaurant:

The way it felt: *****
The cost: $$$
The food: *****
The Service: *****
Kid friendly: *****

So this restaurant gets 5 stars because La Gare Restaurant is one of my very favorite restaurants. I highly recommend it for a special family outing.